Following a thorough analysis, the current model of delivery was not viewed as being the most appropriate to achieve the outcomes of the service or to contribute towards some of the key strategic objectives of the council.
Key limitations included:
lack of client capacity to offer advice and guidance to elected members and key stakeholders including Town and Parish Councils and Community Boards in a timely fashion,
working relationships and communication with the elected members, local councils and the local communities,
the ability to achieve and demonstrate value for money,
delivering effective and efficient services to meet the needs of the community,
lack of client capacity to deal with requests made for small improvements to the network
lack of client capacity to commission work, administer the contract, check and challenge in terms of value for money and monitor the quality of work delivered.
As well as the Local Area Technicians (LATs), other key staff have/will also be transferred back into the council’s direct employment. These are not additional staff, but as part of the new model of delivery, are best placed within the direct employment of the council to carry out key functions. This will allow the council to have greater influence and control over setting of priorities and be able to manage the performance and delivery of the contractors, all areas that were believed to not be good under the current arrangements.
The new client team will be able to better manage the contractual arrangements to ensure improved quality of delivery, better influence and control policy, priorities, and programmes of work, demonstrate value for money, bring forward innovation as well as improved control of the use and occupation of the highway network. It will also enable and facilitate improved working relationships and communication with the elected members, local councils and the wider community ultimately leading to improved customer satisfaction.
The new Term Maintenance Contractor is Balfour Beatty Living Places (BBLP), and they will be responsible for delivering the majority of routine maintenance on the ground, e.g. patching, drainage, grass cutting, etc.
The new Term Consultant is Atkins Global, and they will be responsible for carrying out and supporting the Client team on feasibility, design, site supervision etc for all maintenance related activities, but they will also support in the delivery of major capital projects. There are also two frameworks of contractors; the first will deliver capital works including resurfacing, surface dressing and small-scale improvements. The second framework will have the capacity to support and deliver large scale infrastructure projects including town centre improvements etc.
The council currently use a number of different frameworks for delivering a range of highway and development schemes. These new frameworks have been set up so that other service areas of the council can use them and align the delivery of all its highway and regeneration infrastructure projects under a single delivery model ensuring value for money, able to embrace new technologies and innovations, providing choice to access a range of service providers, and ensuring competition through the ability to run mini competitive tenders and bids and test the market as and when required.
The new contractual arrangements are different to the current ones, with payment only being made upon satisfactorily completed works via a schedule of rates as opposed to the current actual cost contract. In addition, the new contract gives the council various powers to address and tackle poor performance, which can be escalated to include financial penalties if there is no or inadequate improvement.
LATs will continue to be a key contact for elected members, Parish and Town Councils and communities. As part of improving our community-based services, they were transferred back into the council in January 2022. In addition, their numbers were increased from 14 to 16 to directly match the number of Community Boards.
Yes, the on-line reporting and mapping system FixMyStreet will continue to be the best way to report defects and issues on the Highway. This is because it allows you to report an issue, see if the problem has already been reported and to receive updates on progress. We are continually developing the system to improve the customer experience and allow as far as practical, real-time information.
We have made a range of improvements to FixMyStreet, particularly in the messages sent to customers. It is now being used successfully by 60,000 people within Buckinghamshire. We have created an internal triage arrangement to pass full details to the correct team while keeping the customer informed. There is also additional advice for users when the issue is not highways-related as well as when it is a devolved service area, where it seamlessly passes this information to the correct town or parish council.
If your issue is that you wish to discuss further, then your Local Area Technician (LAT) should be able to deal with most day-to-day issues, and they will have the support of a team with expertise to answer most other questions.
If the issue is in reference to lack of progress or poor delivery, performance, then either raise it directly with the LAT, who if unable to deal with it, will pass onto a member of the team best placed to answer and deal with the enquiry.
As well as the forward plans and programmes of works on the web pages, and advance notifications of work programmes, daily road works, road closures and events on the highway will also be found on the one.network website. You can also use this website to set up alerts for anything happening on routes you regularly travel.
Services that have been devolved to Parish and Town Councils and local communities will continue to be devolved. A full review of devolution arrangements will be undertaken in the first year of the new operating model.
A brochure explaining the process of how local funded works can be progressed is being produced. This will be accompanied by a series of meetings (to be arranged) where this can be further discussed directly with community boards. Direct contact with the LAT or highways community liaison team leader will also continue to be available.